Alternative Energy Boondoggle, [California] Tax-Payers Being Ripped Off!

Medieval Scam Alert

According to the EIA, new on-shore wind power is about 37 percent more expensive than new advanced-coal technologies. And solar power makes wind power look like a bargain — new solar photovoltaic power is close to 300 percent more expensive than new advanced-coal technologies. Americans already massively subsidize these costly forms of energy. Wind receives federal subsidies equal to $23.37 per megawatt hour, and solar receives $24.34 per megawatt hour. (Coal receives 44 cents per megawatt hour.) ~ National Review

I have people close to me that will never vote for a bond measure because they do not want their property taxes to increase, but they will increase everyone’s taxes to fund failing business plans and technology. The disconnect is astounding. Here is a positive look at this ponzi scheme that has transferred millions of tax-payer monies to fund the company, to fund people buying the product, and to fund the buying back of the energy — all at the cost of the tax-payer because profit in this industry is impossible:

…Additionally, renewable energy qualifies for accelerated depreciation, which has the effect of reducing OFM’s taxable income and will lower the company’s tax obligation by about $170,000 over two years, Zalcberg said.

Then there’s the business of selling power to the power company. OFM is selling electricity from its solar farm to Progress for 18 cents a kilowatt hour, a premium price approved by state regulators to promote solar energy. At the same time, OFM is paying only one-third of that price for the power it buys from Progress.

The effect is that instead of paying a utility bill, OFM will receive $60,000 yearly from Progress over its 20-year contract with the utility….

Now, here is the John Locke Foundation looking at the same topic:

Getting taxpayers and electricity ratepayers to pay your electric bill

This September 2010 N&O report about the Holly Springs furniture company OFM shows why solar is so popular with private businesses and why it is such a bad deal for taxpayers and ratepayers.

According to the numbers in the story, we can make a rough calculation of who pays and who benefits. First, OFM gets the taxpayers to pay for half of the cost of the solar equipment (i.e., half of $1.4 million, or $700,000). Then OFM receives taxpayer-paid tax breaks worth $170,000. Then Progress Energy ratepayers pay OFM 18 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity produced by the solar panels, while OFM buys power from Progress Energy for 6 cents per kilowatt-hour to run its facility — a net profit of 12 cents per kilowatt-hour. Over 20 years, that would amount to a $1.2 million “profit” from Progress Energy inflicted on ratepayers by the legislature when it passed SB 3.

We must remember that OFM must pay for one-half of the cost of the solar panels, but subtracting the $700,000 cost from the total subsidies above ($2.070 million), OFM gets a cool “profit” after that expense of $1,370,000 to its bottom line courtesy of North Carolina taxpayers and Progress Energy ratepayers.

And that is not all. OFM and other businesses that participate in this fleecing of taxpayers and ratepayers get glowing media reports like this one.

OFM Celebrates One-Year Anniversary of Solar Farm With Plans to Expand

Holly Springs, N.C. — This month office and school furniture manufacturer, distributor and wholesaler OFM is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the 250-kilowatt solar farm it installed on the rooftop of its headquarters in Holly Springs, N.C. last August. The company has since been producing more energy than it uses…

Why not expand when you can force taxpayers and ratepayers to pay your electricity bills? Businesses that feed at the public trough are nothing new. This example illustrates that the environmental movement is the new home of crony capitalism, with taxpayer and ratepayer subsidies for solar, wind, electric car batteries, new LED lighting, the list goes on and on. Businesses get billions, politicians get good press, and taxpayers and ratepayers get fleeced. For more details, see John Stossel’s report on crony capitalism….

…read more…

Hurting the poor the most

The Institute for Energy Research found

that electricity prices are almost 40%

higher in states with mandates for their use.

(source)

How bout’ California? We can see the same boondoggle going on here as well… and its getting worse under government MoonBeam! (Waaay worse.) Here is some info from Hockey Stick, via the WSJ:

…California, for example, has allocated $3.3 billion in rebates for solar installations through 2016 and compensates residents between $0.20 and $0.35 cents per watt of expected performance (about 5% to 10% of the total cost of installation). San Francisco, which has a 100% renewable goal, provides additional rebates ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 per residential installation.

Meantime, school districts in California have received a total of $400 million this year for energy-efficiency projects, including window-glazing and solar-panel installations. SolarCity has contracted with school districts in Barstow, Simi Valley, Los Angeles and other cities.

SolarCity also benefits from “net metering” policies that 43 states, including California, have adopted. Utilities pay solar-panel customers the retail power rate for the solar power they generate but don’t use and then export to the grid. Retail rates can be two to three times as high as the wholesale price of electricity because transmission and delivery costs, along with taxes and other surcharges that fund state renewable programs, are baked in.

So in California, solar ratepayers on average are credited about 16 cents per kilowatt hour on their electric bills for the excess energy they generate—even though utilities could buy that power at less than half the cost from other types of power generators

Not to mention green jobs and money going to waste or keeping money laundering back into the political parties (mainly Democratic):

Cal Watchdog asks a simple question, gives three short responses, and then you can read the rest:

Now that the $2.167 billion California Solar Initiative is winding down, electricity ratepayers might ask: What was it and what did it accomplish? Was it:

1.) A cutting edge solar energy project to bring about a “self-sustaining” solar power industry, as touted by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and state legislators?

The answer is mostly no based on post-project evaluations done by academic experts.

2.) A program to replace very expensive conventional peak time power plants with equally expensive but clean rooftop solar electricity that is generated at the time of day when it is hottest?

The answer is no. Contending that rooftop solar power replaces conventional peak time power is bogus. This is because electricity rates are tiered depending on usage and climate zone and the fact that ultra peak power rates during heat waves and cold snaps only last maybe as much as four weeks out of 52 weeks in a year.

3.) An expensive, artificial green energy and jobs program that is now being wound down, as there is a recovery in the jobs market?

The answer is yes. Since California’s Solar Initiative did not produce a self-sustaining rooftop solar power market (Question No. 1) and cannot be justified as a replacement for expensive peak time electricity, this leaves us with one conclusion: It was mainly a jobs stimulus program that ended up adding about a $200 tax to 10.8 million utility customers’ electric bills.

[….]

Millions of utility customers subsidize solar installations

Of course, the CPUC omitted disclosing that the $6.16 per kilowatt cost of installing rooftop solar power came by adding $2.167 billion to the electricity bills of other California electricity ratepayers. To provide subsidies to the 118,303 recipients of residential, commercial and governmental rooftop solar power installations the electricity bills had to be raised for 10.8 million customers of Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) through its subsidiary the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE).

In other words, the Solar Initiative mandated on average about 91 other electricity customers to subsidize the rooftop solar installations of each rooftop solar power installation. Spread over 10.8 million customers, that equates to about a $200 tax per California electricity customer. The California Solar Initiative is another socialized system like Social Security that is based on a larger base of utility ratepayers paying for a smaller number of recipients. It is a program based on privatizing profits and socializing losses.

Thus, the $6.16 per kilowatt cost installed and 43,000 solar-energy-related jobs created by the California Solar Initiative are artificial and not market-based. The program could never have become self-sustaining in the first place.

…read more…

When government picks winners and losers, we all lose:

The California Air Resources Board is reportedly considering a new plan to help transportation for low earners: buying them cars. The agency would like to give those of low income a voucher to buy energy-efficient vehicles like the Nissan Leaf, which has a sticker price of $21,000. The board currently gives drivers $1,000 to $1,500 to get rid of their older vehicles in an attempt to curb carbon emissions; there is a second program that gives up to $4,000 depending on the vehicles involved.

….The CARB has even implied that it could sponsor the full purchase of an $18,000 for families of three looking to pick up a hybrid. Stanley Young, spokesman for the Air Resources Board, said that California should “make sure low-income people can also get into these clean vehicles.”

The federal cash for clunkers program was an immense failure, frontloading car purchases but doing nothing to truly spur demand for new vehicles. This program would have the ostensible goal of moving America’s auto industry toward more fuel efficiency; instead, it would redistribute income by subsidizing big business.

~ Breitbart

“A fundamental principle of information theory is that you can’t guarantee outcomes… in order for an experiment to yield knowledge, it has to be able to fail. If you have guaranteed experiments, you have zero knowledge” ~ George Gilder

Central planning ALWAYS fails. Competition is a “discovery procedure,” Nobel-prize-winning economist F. A. Hayek taught. Through the competitive market process, we producers and consumers constantly learn things that force us to adjust our behavior if we are to succeed. Central planners fail for two reasons:

First, knowledge about supply, demand, individual preferences and resource availability is scattered — much of it never articulated — throughout society. It is not concentrated in a database where a group of planners can access it.

Second, this “data” is dynamic: It changes without notice. No matter how honorable the central planners’ intentions, they will fail because they cannot know the needs and wishes of 300 million different people. And if they somehow did know their needs, they wouldn’t know them tomorrow.

~ John Stossel

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